Deborah Kogan Ray came into writing through her love of art and illustration. She talked about how the subjects of her books often come to her in a serendipitous manner - they "speak" to her, and she feels a kinship with the story. Her stories and illustrations often celebrate nature, beauty, creativity, and the complexity of interpersonal relationships and family. Though many of her biographical books are of individuals that are not typically taught about in schools (i.e. George Washington, Abraham Lincoln), the underlying themes of family, overcoming challenges, and finding a "voice" resonate throughout them, and connect strongly with readers of all ages.
As teachers, we learned so much about how inspiration comes, the hard work and research that is involved in writing, and the role of finding and sharing a "voice" through writing. It reminds us to keep finding ways to learn about students driving interests, voices, and support them through providing them with a diverse range of experiences and materials.
Below are some photos from the event:
Visit www.dkray.com for Deborah Kogan Ray's website
Visit www.townsendpress.com for Townsend Press, which publishes the Bluford Series